RUDAW: ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Amnesty International has issued an urgent appeal to save the life of a Syrian Kurdish man imprisoned and allegedly tortured in Iran by intelligence agents.
Kamal Hassan Ramezan Soulo, a 30-year-old Syrian Kurd, was detained on August 28, 2014 by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) in the Qandil border area between Iran and the Kurdistan Region in northern Iraq.
Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence believes that Soulo is a fighter from the Kurdistan Free Life Party (PJAK) with the nom de guerre “Kamal Soor”, who was allegedly involved in a deadly firefight with Iranian security forces in August 2006.
Amnesty is now saying Soulo has been tortured in prison to pressure him into making a false confession.
“According to information gathered by Amnesty International, he was taken to a detention facility under the control of the Ministry of Intelligence on June 13… and was kept in solitary confinement for six days without any contact with the outside world and was tortured and mistreated,” the human rights organization said in a statement on its Persian telegram channel on Tuesday.
In August 2015, one year after his arrest, Soulo was sentenced to ten years and one day in prison, which was later dropped to seven and a half years. He was charged with plotting against the country’s national security and membership of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), an armed group that has fought Turkish security forces since 1984 for increased rights for Turkey’s Kurdish minority. It is active in the border areas between Turkey and the Kurdistan Region.
While in prison in 2017, Kamal was informed by the prison guards that he had been sentenced to death because the authorities believe he is Kamal Soor.
Kamal Soor was tried in absentia in November 2011 and was sentenced to death. The organization says that the authorities in the Ministry of Intelligence are pushing for the court to convict Soulo of being Kamal Soor, despite the fact that the Branch 1 of the Revolutionary Court in Urmia city has rejected the claim on two separate occasions – once in September 2017 and again earlier this month.
“According to information gathered by Amnesty International, over the past three years, authorities have repeatedly subjected him to incommunicado detention and torture and other ill treatment, including kicking, punching and beating with cables, in order to force him to make false “confessions” that he is Kamal Soor,” Amnesty said.
The use of televised confessions is a common method by Iranian security forces to gather material as evidence in courts. From 2009 until 2019, the Iranian state-owned media broadcast the forced confessions of at least 355 individuals, according to a recent report by International Federation for Human Rights and its member organization Justice For Iran.
Kurds involved in political activism deemed threatening to Tehran are often imprisoned in large numbers and receive lengthy sentences on charges of affiliation with Kurdish armed opposition groups.
“Kurdish political prisoners charged with national security offences represent almost half of the total number of political prisoners in the Islamic Republic of Iran and constitute a disproportionately high number of those who received the death penalty and are executed,” Javaid Rehman the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran said earlier this year.